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Stop the Spread COVID-19 testing site up and running at GCC

  • A Stop the Spread COVID-19 testing site is now operating out of Sloan Theater at Greenfield Community College. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 1/12/2021 5:00:09 PM

GREENFIELD — The state has opened its Stop the Spread COVID-19 testing site at Greenfield Community College, which allows people without symptoms to get tested for free.

Mayor Roxann Wedegartner said the testing initiative is a collaboration between the city, the state, the college and CIC Health of Cambridge, which is conducting the tests and providing the results to individuals. GCC, which has been closed to in-person learning since last spring, is hosting the site in Sloan Theater.

“Greenfield is thrilled to have the full support and weight of the commonwealth of Massachusetts behind this COVID-19 testing effort. We have seen countless residents of Franklin County utilize this type of testing service and thank the state for its attention and assistance,” Wedegartner said. “This expanded, free COVID-19 testing initiative could not have been possible without the explicit support of the state, including Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, GCC President Yves Salomon-Fernández, GCC Director of Public Safety Alex Wiltz, Greenfield Health Department Director Jennifer Hoffmann, Greenfield Fire Chief Robert Strahan and our partners at CIC Health.”

Testing, by appointment only, at the Greenfield site is for people ages 2 and older, according to a press release from the Mayor’s Office. Appointments may be made at bit.ly/38CH7xF. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

People do not need to present an ID at the Greenfield testing site or any other Stop the Spread location. When registering to be tested, people will share some basic information so they are able to receive updates from CIC Health and its collaborators, be notified of results and speak with a contact tracer if they test positive.

Those who don’t have a computer, smartphone, email address or internet access will have to ask someone to register them, the release states.

CIC Health facilitates the “gold standard” RT-PCR test, which is self-administered with a simple, shallow nasal swab and takes just a few minutes, according to the release. On-site staff will assist parents or guardians with collecting younger minors’ samples, if needed. Test results are typically delivered in 24 to 36 hours.

In mid-December, the city did what could be called a “test run,” by holding two days of free testing at GCC. Greenfield worked with its Health, Fire, Police and Public Works departments, as well as the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) and American Medical Response (AMR) to offer the testing.

The college hosted the two-day event, and people from across the county, as they are doing now, came to be tested.

“The two testing days were well organized, well done and well attended,” Wedegartner said.

The site tested 1,436 people — 629 the first day and 807 on the second day — over the two days, or about 2 percent of the county. She said she hopes the current testing, which will most likely continue into at least March, is as successful as the two-day event.

“It was a testimony of love and care that Franklin County has for its people,” Wedegartner said. “People need to remember that testing is good, but with increased testing, we expect to see an increase in positive results, so numbers go up.”

Wedegartner said that’s beneficial because public health nurses and officials across the county do contact tracing once a positive case is identified. People who are asymptomatic or have been exposed can be isolated or quarantined once they know they’ve been infected.

For more detailed information and answers to other questions about testing, visit cic-health.com.

This week, testing will be held Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m, Thursday from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Starting Jan. 18, hours of testing will be Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 7 p.m.; and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.



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